Building the arts a home

Nick Seebruch
Building the arts a home
Joa performs at the Arts Hall of Fame breakfast on Tuesday

CORNWALL, Ontario – A new Arts Hall of Fame for Cornwall was unveiled at a breakfast on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at the Cornwall Legion.

The Hall of Fame is stored digitally and will be displayed on a 55″ flat screen television donated by Best Buy. The inaugural class includes five artists and has been lauded as the cornerstone from which a future Cornwall Arts Centre could be built.

The first class of the Cornwall Arts Hall of Fame includes the following five people, Edith H. Stiles, Tom Thompson, Ron Sullivan, Lionel Tessier, and Andy Trasuk.

“I think the important points are that this occasion was the launch of the new and very modern Arts Hall of Fame for Cornwall and Area,” said Elaine MacDonald, a Cornwall City Councillor, and a member of the Center for Arts Collective, which is dedicated to bringing an arts centre to Cornwall.

“Our ultimate goal is to see an art centre established but the Hall of Fame is an effort to build a piece of it, the eventual centre, now, and in so doing, to honour those giants who have created, produced and displayed arts for decades, so this generation and those to follow, have a great foundation from which to grow,” she said. “Arts and culture are the life force of a community and we want to celebrate and enshrine it, to make it a focal point for people’s aspirations and sense of identity.”

Three local organizations have made financial contributions towards a Cornwall Arts Centre.  At the breakfast The Seeker donated $2,500, Focus Art contributed $500, and OBO Studios was recognized for their original donation of $50, which was made some years previously. MacDonald said that OBO was one of the first contributors to the arts centre initiative.

Tracy Chisholm of OBO Studios said that she had been approached by Elaine MacDonald years ago with the idea of building an arts centre in Cornwall and contributed the money she had on hand right on the spot.

“Elaine just said she had this idea five-to-six years ago and I said, “here’s $50″,” said Chisholm. “I hope it keeps growing.”

Co-chair of the Arts Collective, Rose Desnoyers said that the digital Arts Hall of Fame will be accessible to the public and is bilingual.

“The digital program is totally bilingual, inclusive and user friendly,” she said “This virtual Hall of Fame (TV) will be installed at the Benson Centre but made available to all organizations wishing to include it in their event. The contact person is Lorne Taillon at the Benson Centre.”

Desnoyers went on to explain that she was proud of the work the Collective has done so far to reach its goal and was very appreciative of the community support that they have received.

“As co-chair of the Centre for the arts Collective with John McMartin, I am very pleased with the team work and dedication of this group of individuals passionately devoted to finding a place for the arts in our area,” she said. “We are also grateful to Scotiabank, Best Buy, the artists, le Centre Culturel, our two art galleries, businesses and three theatre groups who generously supported the event.”

Those interested in submitting nominees to the 2018 Arts Hall of Fame class are encouraged to go to

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